Nov. 16, 2002
The Notre Dame baseball team – fresh off its historic run to the 2002 College World Series – has signed nine highly-touted high school seniors to national letters of intent, head coach Paul Mainieri announced today.
The signees include four righthanded pitchers – 6-0, 170-pounder Jeff Manship (San Antonio, Texas), 6-3, 210 Derik Olvey (Pelham, Ala.), 6-4, 210 Jess Stewart (Manassas, Va.) and 6-5, 195 Dan Kapala (Royal Oak, Mich.) – plus one of the nation’s premier utility players in 6-4, 220-pound Chris Vasami (Mamaroneck, N.Y.), 6-4, 210 first baseman Mike Dury (Indianapolis), 6-1, 185 infielder Chris Fournier (Fairfield, Conn.), 6-1, 175 catcher Sean Gaston (Brownsburg, Ind.) and 5-9, 160 centerfielder Danny Dressman (San Jose, Calif.). Gaston and Dressman are lefthanded hitters while Dury is an accomplished hitter from both sides of the plate.
Four of the signees are ranked among the nation’s top-100 high school players by either the Perfect Game/Baseball America “Prospects Plus” (first number) or by Team One Baseball: Manship (6th/18th), Olvey (58th, 86th), Dury (277th, 37th) and Vasami (100th, NR), with Dury the top-rated first baseman on the Team One list. Fournier (225) and Stewart (269) also were included on PG/BA’s list of the top 300 prep players.
“We met certain needs by signing power pitching arms, power bats, a tremendous two-way player, a great catcher, and an outstanding athlete who can play the outfield,” said ninth-year Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri, whose 2003 squad is slated to graduate its starting rightfielder, Kris Billmaier, plus reserve first baseman Mike Holba and five regular members of the pitching staff (J.P. Gagne, Peter Ogilvie, Ryan Kalita, Brandon Viloria and Matt Laird).
Perfect Game/BA also ranked eight of the nine Irish signees among the top-11 players in their respective states, led by four – Manship, Olvey, Vasami and Fournier – who are rated first in their state (Kapala is No. 2 in Michigan, Dury and Gaston 6th and 9th, respectively, in Indiana, and Stewart 11th in Virginia).
The Team One ratings cited Fournier (10th) and Vasami (14th) among the nation’s “best pure hitters” while projecting Dury as the No. 4 “best pure hitter for the future”, among 2003 draft-eligible prep players. Vasami drew more specific praise, ranking 7th for “best raw power” and 10th for “best linedrive power” (Fournier was 9th in linedrive power). Vasami was one of just two players in the nation who were included among Team One’s top 15 for each of the pure hitting, raw power and linedrive power categories.
Vasami also could combine with Manship and Olvey as one of the nation’s top-rated trios of freshman pitchers in 2004 (Manship was the second pitcher listed on the PG/BA lists while Olvey was 32nd and Vasami was listed as the 53rd pitcher).
“Notre Dame again has signed one of the best classes in the nation and it’s an incredibly-balanced group, with speed, power, good arms and defense at several key areas – I’d certainly grade this class an ‘A’,” says Jeff Spelman, who serves as editor of TeamOneBaseball.com.
“The centerpiece of the class is Jeff Manship. He could prove to be one of the top-10 players in the country and has the best curveball out there. He is very polished and could make an immediate impact, as could Derik Olvey.
“We have three of these signees ranked among the nation’s top hitters, with those players being Dury, Vasami and Fournier – who is a kid that can flat-out hit and is very competitive. And it’s true that Dressman will remind people of Steve Stanley at the same age.
“If you add these signees to the freshman and sophomore pitchers already are at Notre Dame, you could envision them back in Omaha (at the CWS) – because you’d have weekday starters who would be weekend starters at most other top-20 programs.
“Notre Dame really turned the corner with making it to Omaha and there is nothing they can’t offer a recruit now. What is exciting to see is that they are maintaining things on a high level and building on it – they are not a ‘flash-in-the-pan.’ They’ve done a great job of identifying kids early on who are good fits for Notre Dame.”
The nine signees hail from eight home states and are slated to join a Notre Dame program that currently includes players from 19 states on its 2003 roster.
Manship – listed 13th by Baseball America in a projected 2003 mock amateur draft, including current college players – could be the most highly-touted player ever to sign with the Notre Dame baseball program. A member of the 2001 USA Youth National Team, Manship’s junior season at Reagan High School included an 0.66 ERA, 159 strikeouts, 19 walks and just 19 hits allowed in 74 innings – for nine-inning averages of 19.4 Ks, 2.3 walks and 2.3 hits (8.4 K-to-walk ratio). His 9-1 record included three no-hitters (one perfect game) and he went on to star with the Ohio Thunder in the summer of 2002, with his Thunder teammates including current Irish freshman infielder Greg Lopez.
Olvey, who ranks third in his class with a 4.2 GPA, posted an 8-3 record and 0.86 ERA in the 2002 season at Pelham High School, with 116 strikeouts in 68 innings (15.4 Ks per 9 IP).
“Jeff Manship has an outstanding fastball and a devastating curveball. With his experience against top-level competition, he should make an immediate impact,” says Mainieri, who combined with associate head coach Brian O’Connor to sign the nation’s No. 1-ranked class two years ago (the current sophomore class).
“And Derek Olvey complements his 93-94 mile-per-hour fastball with a mound presence that separates him from most pitchers his age.”
Vasami hit .544 as a junior at Mamaroneck High School, with seven home runs and 27 RBI while going 8-2 on the mound with a 1.10 ERA, 113 Ks, 21 walks and 31 hits allowed in 70 innings. He hit .398 with the Long Islands Tigers in a 2002 wooden-bat summer league.
“Chris is an imposing player with great bat speed and excellent mechanics that allow him to hit with power to all fields,” says Mainieri. “He also throws a heavy, hard fastball that tops out in the low 90’s.”
Dury quarterbacked the Bishop Chatard football team to the 2001 state title and is a finalist for Indiana’s 2002 Mr. Football Award (Chatard is 13-0 heading into the state semifinals). The switch hitter posted a .372 batting average as a junior, with four home runs and 33 RBI.
“Mike is a tremendous athlete and leader,” says Mainieri, whose Irish teams have extended the program’s streak of 40-win seasons to 14. “I saw Mike hit a home run lefthanded and then drive a double to the wall righthanded. He is a special talent.”
Fournier hit .536 as a junior shortstop at Fairfield High School, with six home runs and 42 RBI for the 2002 state champions.
“Chris has a hitting approach that is very advanced, with gap-to-gap force, tremendous mechanics, a great understanding of hitting and plenty of poise,” says Mainieri.
Stewart, whose grandfather Jack Stewart was one of the top pitchers on the 1945 Notre Dame baseball team, posted an 8-1 record and 3.24 ERA as a junior at Osbourn City High School, with 58 Ks, 28 walks and 47 hits allowed in 58.1 innings.
“Jess competed against some of the nation’s best this past summer and throws a very heavy fastball with a lot of sink and movement, to go along with low-90s velocity,” says Mainieri, whose past two Irish teams have combined to win 99 games (the nation’s third-highest victory total in that span).
Gaston – a 4.0 student who was Dury’s roommate during the summers of 2001 and 2001, as members of the Indiana Bulls (their ’01 squad won the national title) – hit .478 as a junior at Brownsburg High School and threw out 78 percent of attempted basestealers during the 2002 spring and summer seasons.
“Sean was our top choice to fill our catching needs,” says Mainieri. “He has been catching for many years at a very advanced level, with great receiving mechanics and arm strength.”
Kapala has touched the low 90s with his fastball and had a strong 2002 season at Shrine Catholic High School (9-2, 0.41 ERA, 122 Ks, 38 BB, 19 H in 68.2 IP).
“Dan stood out at our fall camp with his arm strength and deceptiveness,” says Mainieri, who has seen 31 of his Notre Dame players be drafted or signed as free agents. “His low arm angle produces enormous movement and sink, making his fastball very difficult to hit.”
Dressman – whose parents both are Notre Dame graduates – could remind many fans of former Notre Dame All-American Steve Stanley, with a top time of 6.7 in the 60-yard dash. Also a starting quarterback at Archbishop Mitty High School, he hit .443 as a junior on the school’s nationally-ranked baseball team, with 39 RBI.
“Danny attended our summer camp and stood out as a winner,” says Mainieri. “He can run, hit, and throws well, to go along with great baseball instincts. He can place a perfect drag bunt down the third-base line and run a 3.7 to first and then pull a pitch over the rightfield wall for a home run.”
|Danny Dressman||OF||5-9||160||L||San Jose, CA||Archbishop Mitty HS|
|Mike Dury||1B/OF||6-4||210||S||Indianapolis, IN||Bishop Chatard HS|
|Chris Fournier||IF||6-1||185||R||Fairfield, CT||Fairfield HS|
|Sean Gaston||C||6-1||175||L||Brownsburg, IN||Brownsburg HS|
|Dan Kapala||RHP||6-5||195||Royal Oak, MI||Shrine Catholic HS|
|Jeff Manship||RHP||6-0||170||San Antonio, TX||Reagan HS|
|Derik Olvey||RHP||6-3||210||Pelham, AL||Pelham HS|
|Jess Stewart||RHP||6-4||210||Manassas, VA||Osbourn City HS|
|Chris Vasami||RHP/1B/OF||6-4||210||R||Mamaroneck, NY||Mamaroneck HS|
(Note: per NCAA regulations, schools are not permitted to release updated information on signees, after the initial signing release, until those student-athletes enroll for their first semester at the school; individual capsules and quotes from each of ND’s signees follow below, as of Nov. 16).
DRESSMAN NOTES:Likely will fill leadoff role, after batting in middle of lineup as a prep … hit .433 (6th in league) as junior on 27-5 team ranked 23rd in nation, 17th in state (league-best 39 RBI) … 4-2 on the mound in 2002 … played in North-South All-Star Classic (2-for-5, BB, winning run) … hit .288 as sophomore on 28-6 team that finished 13th in state (6 2B, 2 3B, 8 SB), going 4-1 as a pitcher … all-tournament at prestigious West Coast Classic (’01) … team MVP as a freshman, leading team in batting (.524, 6 HR, 32 RBI) and wins (5) … led 2000 team to school’s first league title in 17 years (16-3) … played for Bay Area Blaze team that placed 24th at 2001 Junior Olympics in Tucson, Ariz. (6-for-12, 3 3B, 2B) … starting point guard on varsity basketball team as sophomore and junior (team captain in ’01-’02) … three-year varsity football player (WR, DB, QB) … member of 2001 football team that finished second in section, 20th in state and won first league title since ’74 (12-1) … had 1,146 all-purpose yards in ’01, earning first team all-league and all-peninsula … set school career records for receiving yards and TD catches … all-league in football as a sophomore (8-3) … committed to ND shortly after attending summer baseball camp (later made visit during ND-BC football weekend) … son of Chuck and Diane Dressman (both ND graduates) … his mother (former Diane Shillingburg) lettered with the ND women’s tennis team … born Dec. 12, 1984.
DRESSMAN ON HIS DECISION:“I’d been to Notre Dame several times but it had been a few years and my two visits this year were great. I didn’t think that I was good enough to play for a program like Notre Dame but it was not a hard decision in the least. Notre Dame always has been a special place for me and my family. I’m looking forward to being a part of the Irish baseball program. I’ll just be looking to make some great plays in the field and get on base to set the table for the middle of the lineup.”
DURY NOTES:Ranked No. 277 in nation (No. 6 in Indiana) by Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus, 37th by Team One Baseball (first among 1B) … players ranked above him on the Indiana list include RHP Robbie Wooley (Taylor HS), LHPs Richard Clayton (McCutcheon) and Blake Hollar (North Vijo), C Robert Grinestaff (Jeffersonville) and IF Tod Reida (Western) … Team One’s No. 4-ranked player on projected list for “best future pure hitters,” behind Delmon Young (Camarillo HS, CA), Justin Brashear (Barbe, LA) and Lastings Milledge (Lakewood Ranch, FL) … second-ranked pro prospect at Team One North Showcase (at ND) … hit .372 as junior (4 HR, 33 RBI, 9 2B, 3B), with 5-2 record and 2.16 ERA as LHP(55 Ks, 19 BB, 46 H in 48.2 IP) … named all-city in 2002 … coached by former ND pitcher Mike Harmon (’88) at Chatard … member of Indiana Mustangs in ’02 (.387, 20 RBI, 8 2B) … participated in 2001 Area Code tournament (Chicago) … nominated for Indiana Mr. Football Award … has captained 2002 football team to 13-0 record (21-game win streak) and spot in upcoming state semifinals (75-for-130, 15 TDs, 3 INTs, 6 rushing TDs) … led ’01 football team to 11-4 record and state title, earning all-city and honorable mention all-state … two-year letterwinner in basketball … member of NHS, with 3.95 GPA … involved in several campus organizations and service groups … his mother Nancy Dury played basketball at Marian (Ind.) College … father John Dury played baseball at N.C. State … grandfather Len Dury is a ’54 ND grad., great uncle Walt Sahm was co-captain of ’64-’65 ND basketball team and holds Irish records for career rebounding avg. (16.9) and rebounds in a game (30) … cousin Bill Sahm was member of ’76-’77 Irish basketball team … made official visit during weekend of ND-BC football game (hosted by player Matt Macri) … born Sept. 19, 1984.
DURY ON HIS DECISION:“I’ve been a Notre Dame fan all my life and have been going to football games there since I was a little kid. It always has felt like home and it will be great to be a part of it. I was very impressed with the honesty that coach Mainieri showed and this provides me with an opportunity to get better as a player while getting a great education. It’s also close to home – there are just so many positives.”
FOURNIER NOTES:Ranked No. 225 in nation (No. 1 in Connecticut) by Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus, 86th by Team One Baseball … Team One’s No. 9-ranked player for “best linedrive hitter” and 10th among “best pure hitters,” behind Delmon Young (Camarillo HS, CA), Justin Brashear (Barbe, LA), Lastings Milledge (Lakewood Ranch, FL), Jon Still (Madison Central, MS), Xavier Paul (Slidell, LA), Danny Perales (Meter Dei, CA), Jim Rappaport (Chaminade, CA), David Winfree (First Colonial, VA) and Andy D’Alessio (Barron Collier, FL) … rated by BA as 18th-best player at Northeast Showcase (Wareham, Mass.) … all-state as a junior after leading team to 2002 state title, batting .536 with 6 HRs and 42 RBI in 24 games (22-2) … totaled just 10 errors in first three seasons (72 games), playing mostly shortstop … hit .450 as a sophomore, .410 as a freshman … bats third in team lineup … played summer-league ball with Connecticut Bluejays, Bombers and Wolfpack teams … honors student … made official visit during ND-BC football weekend, hosted by Irish players Javi Sanchez and Craig Cooper … son of Paul and Cindy Fournier … born Aug. 24, 1984.
FOURNIER ON HIS DECISION:“My visit solidified things, seeing the tradition of the school and the baseball program firsthand. It was great to see the dedication that they have to go back to Omaha for the College World Series. It’s a great baseball program and school, I knew I couldn’t go wrong.”
GASTON NOTES:Ranked No. 9 in state of Indiana by Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus … hit .478 as a junior (12 RBI in 23 games), batting in third spot on team that went 19-7 … threw out 78% of attempted basestealers in ’02 spring and summer (when he hit .398 with Indiana Bulls, plus 3 HR, 31 RBI and 7 SBs in 43 games) … holds school records for career putouts (417) and fielding pct. (.982, only 5 Es), ranking second with .444 career batting avg. … hit .378 as a freshman, .450 as a sophomore, .478 as a junior … named 2000 Metro West player of the year (also all-conference) … member of ’02 Chicago White Sox Area Code Team … starting catcher for Indiana Bulls 2001 national championship team … named all-tournament at ’01 NABF National Tournament … honor roll student, NHS officer and student council member, with perfect 4.0 GPA … made official visit during weekend of ND-Pittsburgh football game … son of Keith and Patsy Gaston … born Feb. 12, 1985.
GASTON ON HIS DECISION:“Notre Dame is a very strong school academically and athletically and they became my frontrunner after their run at the College World Series. My official visit actually was my first time on campus. One of the big things that impressed me was how genuine everybody is and they really care. I am really looking forward to working with such a great pitching staff and making improvements in my offensive game.”
KAPALA NOTES:No. 2 ranked played in Michigan (Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus), behind LHP Matt Haskell (Leslie, Mich.) … posted 0.41 ERA and 9-2 record as a junior (122 Ks, 38 BB, 19 H in 68.2 IP) … also hit .382 with 21 RBI (8 2B, 6 3B, 11 SB) … attended ND 2002 fall baseball camp … his ’02 honors included all-league, all-district, all-region and all-area … member of two league championship teams, plus ’02 district and regional champs … attended BPR Fall Classic in Arizona … helped Michigan Rams under-16 team go 49-10-2 and win state title (he was 5-0), advancing to USSSA World Series in Northville, Mich. … named captain for 2003 baseball team… two-year letterwinner in football, earning all-league as a junior and playing on two division and league champs … named to top-50 sophomore and junior lists in basketball for state of Michigan (Prep Spotlight) … helped basketball team win 2001 division title … did not play football in 2002 … honor roll student and member of NHS … made official visit during weekend of ND-Stanford football game (with player host John Axford) … son of Chuck and Linda Kapala … born Sept. 6, 1985.
KAPALA ON HIS DECISION:“On my visit, the coaches were very welcoming and I really enjoyed getting to know the team. The facilities also were very impressive and the campus is amazing. I really felt that I had similar goals as the coaches and players and am eager to be a part of the program. I’ve just started to scratch the surface with my pitching and am looking forward to improving as a pitcher at Notre Dame.”
MANSHIP NOTES:Ranked No. 6 in nation (No. 1 in Texas) by Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus, behind OFs Lastings Milledge (Lakewood Ranch HS, FL), Delmon Young (Camarillo, CA) and Chris Lubanski (Kennedy-Kendrick Catholic, PA), OF/RHP Ryan Harvey (Dunedin, FL) and RHP Jeff Allison (Veterans Memorial, MA) … ranked 18th by Team One Baseball … rated 13th by BA in its projected 2003 amateur draft (6th prep player, 6th pitcher, 2nd prep pitcher on that list) … players above him on that list included Southern University 2B/OF Rickie Weeks, Tulane 1B/OF Michael Aubrey, Georgia Tech OF Matt Murton and four college pitchers – Kyle Sleeth (Wake Forest), Kyle Bakker (Georgia Tech), Tim Stauffer (Richmond) and Brad Sullivan (Houston) – plus Milledge, Young, Harvey, Lubanski and Allison … had impressive one-hit effort with Columbus-based Ohio Thunder summer-league team, vs. East Cobb (Ga.) Yankees (one of nation’s top under-18 teams) at ’02 Atlanta Wooden Bat Tournament (7 IP, 11 Ks, 1 BB, unearned run) … stats with the Thunder included 1.65 ERA and 4-3 record (92 Ks, 16 BB, 24 H in 51 IP) … posted 0.66 ERA and 9-1 ERA as a junior (159 Ks, 19 BB, 19 H in 74 IP; avg. 19.4 Ks per 9 IP) … tossed three no-hitters, the last coming in 1-0 loss to eventual state runner-up Austin Bowie (unearned run) … tossed perfect game in win over South San Antonio (19 Ks) … short-relief pitcher on ’01 USA Youth National Team that won gold medal at World Championship in Vera Cruz, Mexico … slated to be team captain in ’03 … named second team All-American in ’02 (Student Sports), also first team all-district and first team academic all-state … second team all-district in ’01 … Reagan did not sponsor varsity baseball in 2000 (school’s first year of existence) … played for San Antonio Xpress in summers of ’98-’01 … his brother Matt Manship is a freshman pitcher at Stanford … member of NHS … made official visit during weekend of ND-Michigan football game (hosted by players Chris Niesel and Matt Macri) … son of John and Sue Manship … born Jan, 16, 1985.
MANSHIP ON HIS DECISION:“I learned a lot about the Notre Dame program from being teammates with Greg Lopez last summer. I learned even more on my visit and it was great to see the ceremony that they had for the College World Series team. After my visit, I pretty much knew that’s where I wanted to go. The school spirit was so amazing and I enjoyed everything and everyone that I met. I always try to be an intelligent pitcher on the mound, using my curve and fastball, and am working on developing my changeup. I’ve had that good curve since I was 10. There has been a lot of time to perfect it.”
OLVEY NOTES:Ranked No. 58 in nation (No. 1 in Alabama) by Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus, 86th by Team One Baseball … rated 18th-best pro prospect at East Coast Showcase (Wilmington, N.C.) … posted 0.86 ERA, 8-3 record in ’02 (116 Ks, 17 BB, 38 H in 68 IP) …went 9-3 with 0.93 ERA in ’01 … pitched with Bama Bombers in summer of ’02, with impressive outing vs. team from Ontario at tournament in Jupiter, Fla. (7 IP, 15 Ks, 1 BB, 3 H) … all-state and academic all-state in ’02 … twice all-metro … honorable mention all-state in ’01 … ranked third in his class and member of NHS, with 4.2 GPA … could become second letterwinner from Alabama in ND baseball history … made official visit during ND-Stanford football weekend (hosted by player Javi Sanchez) … son of David and Karen Olvey … born Oct. 27, 1984.
OLVEY ON HIS DECISION:“This was an opportunity very few people get and I didn’t want to pass it up. They have a great program and when Notre Dame calls, you listen. What really impressed me is how there are people there from all over the country. I also really liked the coaches and the way they interact with the team. I’ve always been a hard thrower who will come at you with my fastball but I’m looking to be a little smarter in my pitching and getting some groundballs, instead of just looking for the Ks.”
STEWART NOTES:Ranked No. 269 in nation (No. 11 in Virginia) by Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus … rated 8th-best pro prospect at Team One South Showcase (at Georgia Tech) and as No. 10 prospect by BA at 2002 Mid-Atlantic Showcase … went 8-1 as junior on team that lost first game of season in state tournament (24-1), with 3.24 ERA, 58 Ks, 28 BB and 47 hits allowed in 58.1 IP (3 saves) … hit .434 in ’02 (2 HR, 13 2B, 25 RBI) … threw two no-hitters in ’02, including 58-pitch gem vs. Garfield … ’02 honors included area and district player of the year and first team all-state … played on ’01 under-16 World Series championship team … honor roll student and member of NHS … played three years with Harris Rangers summer-league team … grandfather Jack Stewart (4-2 record) was one of top pitchers on 1945 ND baseball team … made official visit on weekend of ND-Michigan football game (his player host was Scott Bickford) … son of Deborah Stewart … born Feb. 6, 1985.
STEWART ON HIS DECISION:“When I got to Notre Dame I was really impressed with all of the tradition. The coaches were great and I felt comfortable with the players. Brian O’Connor is one of the best pitching coaches in the country. He has taken guys like me and developed them into great pitchers.”
VASAMI NOTES:Ranked No. 100 in nation (No. 1 in New York) by Perfect Game/Baseball America Prospects Plus (listed as a pitcher) … Team One Baseball rated him No. 7 among draft-eligible high school players for “best raw power,” behind Charles Benoit (Southlake Carroll HS, TX), Jordan Mayer (Alexandria, LA), Taylor Baum (Penn Charter, PA), Tyler Wicke (Buena, AZ), Louis Rojas (Belen Jesuit, FL) and Ryan Harvey (Dunedin, FL) … also rated No. 10 for “best linedrive power” and No. 14 for “best pure hitter” … he and Delmon Young of Camarillo, Calif. (1st in linedrive power and pure hitting, 15th in raw power) were the only players ranked in all three categories (Team One listed 15 in pure hitting and raw power, 10 in linedrive power) … rated 20th-best player at East Coast Showcase, 11th at Northeast Showcase (Wareham, Mass.) … finished second in home run contest at Area Code Games (Long Beach, Calif.) … baseball and basketball captain as a junior … hit .544 as a junior (7 HR, 27 RBI, 9 2B, 4 3B, 8 BB, 3 Ks) while posting 1.10 ERA and 8-2 record (113 Ks, 21 BB, 31 H in 70 IP) … hit .430 as a sophomore (25 RBI) … member of three league title teams … ABCA all-district pick in ’02 (second team all-state) … ’02 section player of the year (only junior on ’01 section top-10 list) … three times all-league …member of ’01 South Shore team that won AABC Mickey Mantle World Series in McKinney, Texas (first N.Y. team ever to win) … pitched four-hit complete game vs. Puerto Rico in MMWS semifinal game (6-2), hitting two-run, gametying home run in title game vs. same team (6-4) … set Long Island Tigers record with .525 batting avg. in summer of ’01 before hitting .398 with Tigers in ’02 summer wooden-bat league … invited to attend USA Baseball Junior Olympic trials (unable to attend due to exam conflict) … will be running winter track in ’02-’03 (55-meter and mid-distance sprints) … involved in numerous campus organizations and service clubs … his mother’s cousin, Tim Heverin, has undergraduate and law degrees from Notre Dame … father Ralph Vasami played baseball at NYU, brother Ralph played baseball at University of Pennsylvania … made official visit the weekend of the ND-Michigan football game (hosted by players Matt Macri and Steve Sollmann) … son of Ralph and Mary Vasami … born March 7, 1985.
VASAMI ON HIS DECISION:“Everything at Notre Dame is first-class. I felt it was a place that I could go, fit right in and excel while making the most of my opportunities. The chemistry of the program felt really good, the cohesiveness of the team and their relationship with the coaches. The team is so well-supported by the school and its fans. I just felt so comfortable when I walked on the campus. I play the game with a lot of intensity and that is something I hope to continue at Notre Dame. I will be looking make some improvements in the mental side of the game but overall I’m very excited to join the program.”